Anna Karina
Holiday shopping takes a French twist in South Pasadena

"Merci beaucoup," said the waiter at Mike & Anne's, a pleasant restaurant on Mission Street in South Pasadena, as my friend Allie and I finished our lattes and paid the bill. Allie had mentioned that there was a distinctive French theme to the shops and eateries in her neighborhood, but this seemed over-the-top. It was 11 a.m., already too late to get a pan au chocolat at the prepared-food shop and cafe Nicole's Gourmet Foods nearby (they usually sell out by 10), but it was the perfect time to start shopping for gifts. We started at Camille DePedrini, a special-occasion store with pricey but elegant accessories. Allie liked the black-lace gloves ($25) and an oversized,...